My Summer Class
My Summer Class
The end of June, through July 13 was a whirlwind. I finished school on June 22, participated in a hiring committee for a new principal at my school and started my first class (the accelerated version) of my graduate program. The class ran from June 29-July 10. I submitted my final assignment on time on July 12 and we left for Spain and Portugal on July 13. I'm pooped.
About the class. It was set up in such a way that we all learned a tremendous amount about special education and all sorts of issues and topics regarding that field. There were numerous student presentations, with handouts and email attachments and all sorts of goodies as resources. There were films and speakers. There was not very much lecture. I like a good lecture if the instructor is well-spoken and has actually prepared a spiel that is easy to follow. When well-constructed, I learn a lot this way. When it's disjointed, I tune out and can't learn at all. This instructor was disjointed. That could be why she chose to not lecture much. She was a wonderful person to deal with, though. Except that one time she quietly quipped that I was giving her a headache (I was trying to explain something which was already convoluted and she was not understanding it). I found myself taking her comment with my usual dose of bemusement.
I haven't taken a serious college course in about four years. And that one was very low-tech and not even held in a college classroom but in the building of a non-profit organization. The class I took this summer was held in a college classroom, with computers at each seat. This is a first for me in higher education. Remember I finished my Bachelor's Degree in 1984, a bit behind schedule. I was still typing up papers on a word processing typewriter! I found myself relieved that I knew what I was doing with all the computer-related stuff. Most of the students did, because of our education background. I can only imagine how I would have fared, had I been entering a new field with limited computer skills.
There were emails and attachments coming into my in-box, left and right. Almost all of the presentations (twelve in all, I believe), included email attachments and links and any manner of information. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of attachments in my email. And trying to sort through everything became a chore in and of itself. I got an A in the class, by the way. This was encouraging, though the pace of this program is way intense and I've decided to put the brakes on it and go slower. Instead of taking the other summer class available for August, I've decided to go on another vacation with WP. More on that later.
On Being a Misfit
Being among the older members of the class, there were times when I asked myself "how did I get here" (a David Byrne question).
Speaking of David Byrne. I recently heard that he has Asperger's Syndrome, which is a mild form of autism. That's the topic I did my presentation on for class and based my other project loosely on, with an emphasis on Multiple Intelligences. I'm fascinated with autism and Asperger's. There are three children at my small school who are on the autism spectrum and I enjoy working with one and interacting with the other two who are in other classrooms. I read a book called Look Me in the Eye by a local author John Elder Robison, of Amherst, Massachusetts. He has a blog by the same name, which I've just begun to follow as a result of having read his fantastic book.
My own life with someone with more than a touch of Asperger's is a story for another time. Suffice it to say that he is totally brilliant and successful and I'm one of only about three people in the world who can make him look me in the eye. I love him and accept him and intend to spend the rest of my life with him. It's interesting to bring Asperger's to his attention because he just grins and doesn't say anything. I get it. If that's what he "has", he's accepted himself and hopes that others will also. And if they don't, oh well. I can understand that.
I don't have Asperger's but I have qualities that I identify with in Asperger's people. I'm more of a loner. I don't like being around a lot of people all at once. I don't mind it if the group of people are children. But then, of course, I want to be their teacher, or it's totally unmanageable! :-) Social interactions and "niceties" tire me out but I manage when I have to. Especially if it means a lot to someone. Like it will mean a lot to WP's daughter who is getting married next year, that I socialize at her extraordinarily large wedding. Yikes. :-)
My girls tell me I am just plain anti-social. Double yikes. I don't think I'm all-out anti-social. I prefer to socialize and be around one or a few other people; usually friends and family. I don't feel comfortable with huge, extended networks of people that I have to put a lot of effort into fitting in with. I am by nature solitary and independent. I avoid too many human entanglements because people are just too damned complicated and exhausting. Present company excluded, of course. :-)
I think that's why I like to blog. The medium puts me in touch with people who understand the world of my head and even sometimes have something to say about it. Having grown up a working class kid from an immigrant family didn't exactly put me in touch with intellectuals and artists, writers and assorted funky types. And to this day, I still feel intimidated by such people face-to-face. I recently commented on one of Lisa's posts at That's Why (she met The Cracker Queen in person as well as some guy whose radio voice she takes a shower with - it's a hilarious post and you must read it!) that I am so celebrity-shy as to be almost rude. I can't even say to the band at the local roadhouse during a break that I liked their set. I just can't do it. Nevermind go up to an author or actor and start talking. In this way, I am painfully shy.
And I don't mean to knock my upbringing, though moving from one country to the next to the present one didn't exactly make it easy to fit in. But it's within my family that I learned to love and trust and within that immigrant community that I learned what I wanted from it and what I did not. And to my father, I owe a tremendous lot because he shared his intelligence, his talents and his passions with me. He too was different from those around him and though he never said so, I think he understood that we were alike in this way.
Blogging is the inner world of my head. Such as it is. I've not made it the inner world of my heart very much. I feel a kind of love and kindness and compassion and interest toward many people I've encountered through blogging but as far as opening up to an extent that would make me feel vulnerable, I have done very little of that. I guess because my younger self was much more without protection and I was hurt too many times. I don't need to get knocked on my arse by someone I don't know but thought I could trust. It is simply a happier way of being for me online. Besides, everyone has their own problems, so many of which are worse than mine are at this stage in my life when I am pretty decently happy.
Saying Goodbye to SG1
SG2 and I said a teary goodbye to our SG1 at the airport last Thursday. A very emotional drive from Franklin County to Logan Airport, frought with tension and stress and strong feelings. She's called daily since from Santa Barbara, with tidbits about her and Beloved's tiny apartment and their time visiting the beach. SG1 sounds happy and in love with Beloved and the weather there!
She's starting her Americorps stint at the elementary school in a couple of weeks. It will be within a few minutes walking distance from the Santa Barbara University campus. Beloved starts classes around the same time, I believe. Things are falling into place for them and therefore I am a happy Mommy.
WP's eldest M visiting from San Francisco. She and WP just left for the airport, after a yummy shrimp salad lunch I made from M's recipe: one pound of cooked shrimp, one avocado, green and red pepper, red onion, a splash of olive oil and seasoned rice vinegar, freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. With crusty bread and a glass of white wine for me. The girls obstained from the latter, leaving all the extra calories to me. They do watch those figures.
On Saturday we're off to Nova Scotia again. This time we're staying put at Five Islands and going into the sweet town of Parrsboro for entertainment and dining. We're also looking at a drive to Halifax for the Busker Festival. We attended last summer and it was a blast. This is going to be so, so nice...a relaxing vacation. Yessssssssss.